The Design and Danger of a Delay Part 1 & 2

We often talk about dreams.  Those inner visions that propel us forward to fulfill our divine destiny.  But what happens when they are late in arriving, even after you have worked and struggled to bring them to fruition?  How do you deal with the delay between the dream and that moment you know you have arrived at the desired outcome?  Sometimes there is so much disappointment in the delay that it may seem difficult to move forward into all God has for us.

The longer I live, the more I thank God for the DISAPPOINTMENTS in my life. Some of my WORST moments now serve as some of my BEST altars! – Raymond Woodward

Have you ever had a God inspired dream that didn’t happen as quickly as you thought it should? Yes, you had worked at it, but it seemed that many obstacles came against you. Finally, you gave up in despair and the dream lay dormant.  Think with me for a moment about the delay for the Children of Israel when they had been freed from their bondage in Egypt and were told by God they would inherit a land of promise.  Most of us are probably familiar with the story and how their fear talked them out of their future.  It is a sad story of an often experienced reality in our own lives.

As I was thinking of this I wrote down how I believe God may use delays in our own lives.  I will get to the dangers of a delay later this week, but check out these 3 things about delays and how they are a part of the design of God.

  1. God uses delays to prepare us. God uses delays to get us ready for those difficult times that we are going to face during the course of our journey. These delays are designed to fortify our faith and make us stronger.
  2. God uses delays to test us. Deut. 8:2, “God led you through the wilderness for forty years… testing you to find out how you would respond and if you would obey Him.” God uses delays to test how we will respond under pressure and to test our loyalty and obedience to Him.  Although the Israelites were responsible for their time in the wilderness, God still used it for their good.
  3. God uses delays to train us because sometimes it takes longer to get Egypt out of us than it does to get us out of Egypt (TWEET THIS).  God uses the delays to break those habits and thought patterns and train you in His way of thinking and doing things. The best thing to do when you are in God’s waiting room is be patient and let God do His work in your life.

If you find yourself in a delay and the dream is not becoming a reality in your life, I challenge you to look at the delay in a different light.  Next post we will discuss the danger of what we often face when in the midst of a delay.  Till then – KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

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In our last post, we discussed the way God uses delays in our life to teach us in three major areas.  God uses delays to prepare us, test us and train us.  Today I want to look at the danger of not fully understanding why we are being faced with a delay.  If you and I are not careful we can fall into the trap of caving into the pressure of a delay, and find ourselves in some major trouble as a result.

When looking at the children of Israel, we can quickly discover four major approaches to the delay they faced.  As a result of each of these, only 2 out of the original million plus, ever made it into the land of promise.  The Israelites made these four major mistakes that cost them their promise.  When faced with delays in our own lives these 4 areas should be something we avoid.

Let's take a closer look:

  1. Don't Fear - This is the first mistake the Israelites made. There are a lot of reasons for the delays that happen in our life but this one is our own fault. God says don't be afraid. They were afraid to go forward at the Red Sea. And they were afraid to enter the Promise land because of the walled cities and the giants.  They had enough faith to move out of Egypt but they didn't have enough faith to move into the Promised Land. They were afraid.
  2. Don't Fret - Fret means worry. Don't get worried. Don't get uptight. We do that when we get into delays. We worry, get uptight, get stressed out. Worry may give you something to do, but it will only cause strength to drain from you.  When you worry you bind the hands that can help you. God responds to faith not fear. Learn to trust God in the delays you face. After all, it is God that is leading you.  God's children began to fret and it cost them dearly!
  3. Don't Faint - When you go through the delays in life, don't faint. Don't get discouraged. Don't lose heart. Don't give up. Don't throw in the proverbial towel.  This is the third thing the Israelites did and it kept them out of the promised land.  Numbers 14 tells us the story: "All the Israelites grumbled against Moses... `If only we had died in Egypt! ... We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt."  They gave up on their dream. They caved in. They had been in slavery 400 years but now because they are having a little bit of delay they want to go back to Egypt. "If only" and "go back" are phrases that are tell-tale signs you're discouraged -- that you're fainting, losing heart.
  4. Don't Forget - Psalms 103: "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..."  During the delay, time causes us to forget many things. When there is a delay, we tend to forget our dream. We tend to forget what God had done in our life. We tend to forget God's goodness to us in the past. We tend to forget that God is with us. We tend to forget God's power. We tend to forget how important it is that we stay in God's strength and we start focusing on all our problems than on what He has done for us.  We cannot forget all God has done in our lives in order for us to move forward into the promises He has for us.

I trust that as you look at these posts you will begin to see what God has in store for you and how He desires you approach the delays that come into your life.  Remember you have a God that is for you and not against you.

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These two posts were originally written in 2013 and have been updated in their current form

Anything Is Possible

The dream that almost wasn't

Warning!!! This will be a longer than usual post but one I believe will encourage you and help to increase your faith.  All of us from time to time need to have our faith extended and our hearts encouraged.  It is my prayer that this post will do just that as you read it and see how awesome and mighty our God truly is!

A little history to get you up to speed:

My wife and I came to the city of Escondido in 2005, with our three kids in tow, to take the pastorate of what was then known as Truth Tabernacle.  Pastor Jimmy Jones had faithfully served this church for over 20 years and was desiring to retire.  We were elected as pastor in March of 2005 and the journey began.  The church began to move forward as North Point Worship Center and over the next several years we saw God do some amazing things but we also faced many challenges.  As we all know, any dream having any value will face obstacles. However, the value you place on the dream determines how hard you press in order to see your dream come to pass!

In 2013 our church launched a capital campaign to get the building, that had been in our location for over 40 years, ready to sell so we could take the next step into what we believed God was leading us into.  We were limited in room and desperately needed to make a change.  Once we launched the campaign, many challenges arose which are way too numerous to discuss in this post!  I had been told by friends, who had gone into campaigns of this nature, to expect some major challenges along the way.  To be honest, many of those warnings I received I let go in one ear and out the other, thinking that whatever those friends of mine faced would definitely not happen here at NPWC!  Boy was I wrong!  Now, I am not one to focus on the negative in any shape or fashion, but allow me to just drop this in here – once the campaign started it seemed as if all of hell and high water came against us.  It was a difficult time but God saw us through it and we emerged on the other side, somewhat scathed and scarred, but better off because of it!

Fast forward to 2014 (told you this was a long post).  I received a flyer in the mail one day at the church that described a building which was for sale in our city.  The price was WAY out of our league as a church but I felt we should take a look at it and see what it was all about.  What I quickly discovered, once we walked through the property, is that this building was one Pastor Jones had also looked at to purchase several years earlier.  It was in need of much repair when he looked at it and had continued down the path of being neglected when we showed up to take a peek.  A portion of this building was one of the first churches built in the city of Escondido.  In fact, the portion I mention, was built in 1887 as a Southern Methodist Church.  It was later purchased by the 7th Day Adventist and added onto, making room for future growth and plans.

As mentioned earlier, the price was way out of our price range but there was something to the old building that got our attention.  As a result of walking through the building we met the future agent that would help us sale our current building and set us on the road to a miracle.  The funny thing about a miracle is this – you often do not know you are in the middle of one till it is all over!  A year later we sold our building and once it sold I asked our realtor about the building we had looked at close to a year earlier.  He informed me the building was in escrow and was set to become a charter school within the next year to two years.  I remember telling our agent on the phone – Adam, this building will fall out of escrow.  Just watch!

In October of 2015 God opened a door for us to go into Classical Academy High School and rent their assembly hall for our services.  This was a major blessing and allowed us to continue to grow and dream as we waited on the miracle God had in store for us!  I am forever thankful to CAHS for their kindness and willingness to work with us over the course of this last year.  It has truly been a blessing.

Fast forward to June 2016 (sorry, I am trying to get to the good part).  I am up early one Sunday morning getting ready for our services later that day when I decide to get online to see if there were any buildings or land for sale in our city which may work for us as a congregation.  As I began to research properties online, the building we had walked through two years prior showed up in my search.  I quickly contacted our realtor and was informed the next day that it was indeed for sale.  We immediately went to work on seeing if we could secure this building as a future home for the church.  What at one time had been completely out of our price range as a church, was now something we could handle and after much due diligence, inspections, discussions and prayer the church became the new home of NPWC on November 15, 2016!!!

Now begins the fun part as we work to beautify the house of the Lord.  I wholeheartedly believe that if God provides it, God will help you build it and the dream can become a reality.  We have much work ahead of us but the future potential of this building and location is absolutely incredible!  We went from roughly a little under 6,000 sf. in our old building to close to 18,000 sf. with tons of parking, Sunday school rooms, youth rooms, offices, two sanctuaries, a large fellowship hall and much much more!  GOD IS GOOD!  He alone makes the impossible POSSIBLE!!!

If you have made it this far in your reading I applaud you (wait I can’t LOL)!  This is a dream come true for our assembly and a LONG time coming.  What God has brought our way is nothing short of a miracle and we are thankful for what He has done and what is in store.  We are currently remodeling the church and have several months ahead of us of work but it will be worth it as we see God transform the lives of people throughout our community and county in a beautiful place of worship.

I wanted to give everyone a few snapshots of the building and the work that is now taking place!  Thank you for your time and we ask that when you pray, say a prayer for our church that we can complete what God has provided for us.  We will continue to update you on the progress of the remodel.  God bless.

~DS
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Nothing Quite Like Them

This week I am privileged to be speaking at the Texas District Youth Camp in Lufkin, Tx.  These students are awesome and as we begin the camp last night I couldn’t help but go back in my mind to when I was one of those campers.

Youth camp had a profound effect on my life.  I made lifelong friends at youth camps.  I received my call into the ministry in a youth camp.  I made commitments that have forever shaped and changed my life at youth camps.  I had experiences that you can’t have just staying home during the summer.  I am thankful for all those that invest their time to make sure camps can function.  Many take their vacation time to work at a camp and give up their week or two of rest to corral rambunctious teenagers for 4 or 5 days!

I say all this to say – I believe it is worth the effort!  Every life impacted by being in a camp where God can speak to them is proof in and of itself.  I am thankful I get the opportunity to fulfill what I believe God began in me, at a youth camp, to these kids this week.  There is no greater honor than being a part of the process of God in the life of students.  There is nothing quite like a youth camp.

I am blessed!

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M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E Lessons

My family and I have been fortunate to live close to Disneyland during these years our kids are at home.  In fact we have season passes and we enjoy going when time permits.  I guess I am still a kid at heart because I get a kick out of being with my children in The Happiest Place on Earth.

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However, each time I go I am reminded how powerful Mickey and his friends make the experience.  I have thought about it often and put it in the back of my mind that one day I might jot down a few thoughts about those experiences in the theme park.  Well someone beat me to it and explained it far better than I ever could.

Last night was one of those nights where I woke up around 1 am and couldn’t go back to sleep so I picked up my iPad and opened my Kindle app.  I went to a book I hadn’t read in awhile and began reading where I had left off a few weeks earlier.  The book is called Killing Cockroaches: And Other Scattered Musings on Leadership written by church consultant Tony Morgan.  You can find out more about Tony and what he does by visiting his website.  I was hoping I would come across something in my reading that would cause me to go back to sleep.  But, just the opposite happened.  It woke me up and I ended up reading through the book till about 4 AM!!!

Angeles Church Introduction

As most of you know that follow my blog, a few months ago our Youth Pastor and his wife left The Point to go plant a church in Glendale, Ca.  Though this was a tough loss for us, we knew it was the will of God and are very excited about what is in store for David and Monique McGovern and Angeles Church.  Tonight is the second preview service of this brand new launch.

Angeles Church Logo

David and Monique worked with us for over 7 years and led our youth with excellence.  In the next week or so I will be doing an interview with Pastor David on this brand new church plant.  Stay tuned for that but I wanted you to see a little bit about what is already going on in Glendale.  If you would like more information check out Angeles Church and if you are in the Glendale area make sure to visit one of their preview services.  We are super proud about what God is doing in this church and the McGoverns.  Exciting Days Ahead!

Angeles Church from Angeles Church on Vimeo.

TopColumn.2Follow what is going on by following them on Twitter and Facebook.  You can also contact them via their website @ ANGELES CHURCH.  Pretty awesome!Screen Shot 2012 12 01 at 5.31.08 AM

3 Reasons Why I Love Sunday Mornings

I get up early on Sunday mornings, well truth be told I get up early almost every morning.  I wish I could sleep in but it seems I have this internal clock that just goes off when 5 AM rolls around.  Someone recently told me that it is because I am getting old!!  How dare they! 🙂

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But on Sunday mornings I get up with a certain spring in my step.  There is something about the atmosphere of Sunday mornings.  Growing up I remember waking on Sunday mornings to the sound of music coming from the living room.  My parents would turn on Sunday Morning Gospel Hour on the local radio station and it would fill the house getting us ready to go to church.

You see, growing up we believed that going to church was important.  My parents taught us that if the doors to the house of the Lord were opened, we needed to be there.  I can remember a few times feigning a fever only to be told that going to church would be the best thing for it – we will have the ministry pray for you!

I am thankful that this habit was formed in my life.  There is just something about a Sunday Morning and what it means to me now that I have kids of my own.  I believe there are at least 3 things I love about Sunday mornings.  There are more than that but for the sake of brevity (you got to get to church) I will only give you my top 3.

The reasons I love Sunday mornings are that I get to:

  1. CONNECT WITH MY CREATOR
    • I have the privilege of worshiping the One who created me.  Now that may not mean much to you but it is HUGE for me.  Worship is what we are called to do and when I think about Sunday mornings I think about worship.
  2. CONNECT WITH MY CHURCH
    • I enjoy the fellowship of other believers.  There is strength in numbers and I need the body of Christ to help me in this journey called life.
  3. CONNECT WITH MY PURPOSE
    • In Isaiah 6 When the prophet “saw the Lord” the bible says that he responded to God’s question of who should He send.  Isaiah ended up telling God that he would be glad to go and do the work that was being asked of him.  Something about being in the presence of God that makes me realize what I was called to do and for what purpose I was created.

I hope today that all 3 of these will resonate with you and you will walk into your place of worship expecting something great to happen in your life and those around you.

Happy Sunday!!

DS